by William M. Banks, Scotland
David had the sacred honour of listening to communications between Divine persons in the Old Testament Scriptures: "The LORD said unto My Lord …" Ps.110.1. We have the same honour today. Here, in John chapter 17, is one of the most sacred chapters in the whole Bible. The Son is communicating with the Father and we are permitted to listen. He had been heard before, see Lk.11.1, and when He ceased praying one of the disciples was so entranced he said "Lord teach us to pray". The content of the Lord’s prayer is not divulged in that case but the Lord used the occasion to teach some basic principles associated with prayer. Indeed there are very few occasions when we can listen to the Lord praying. We know the content of the Gethsemane prayers but very few others; though some are anticipated in the Old Testament, see, for example, Psalm 22. Here we can listen for ourselves and be amazed at the unparalleled intimacy and manner of the communication.
The context of the prayer is also of deep significance. He has just finished the "Upper Room Ministry" in chapters 13-16. On conclusion of this ministry He undertakes a time of deeply devotional prayer. Perhaps one reason why our ministry is not as effective as it might be is because of the lack of prayerful exercise after the ministry is delivered.
It would be impossible in the space available to cover the prayer in detailed exposition. Full books have been written doing this, see for example Brown.1 The purpose here is to look at some of the main topics contained within it and thereby learn some doctrinal and practical truths.
- 1 Brown, John. “An Exposition of Our Lord’s Intercessory Prayer”. Published by Klock and Klock, 1978, Reprint.
The following features will be examined:
The address used by the Son when speaking to the Father
The Son’s location identified
The subject of glory in the chapter
The several sevens
The threefold unity emphasised
The associations in glory
THE ADDRESS USED BY THE SON WHEN SPEAKING TO THE FATHER
There are three main sections to the prayer and in each the Father is addressed differently and, of course, appropriately to the theme. There is a scarcity in the use of Divine titles which we would do well to emulate. Only six times in the prayer is this undertaken as follows:
The Son and the Father, vv.1-5. The address used is "O Father", see v.5 but also v.1
The Son and the Disciples, vv.6-19. The address used is "Holy Father", see v.11
The Son and those who believe subsequent to Pentecost, vv.20-26. The address used is "Righteous Father", see v.25 but also vv.21,24
It is clear that in each case the adjective is of significance. In the first section there is an ardent appeal, "O Father", for the resumption of the pre-incarnate glory "… which I had with Thee before the world was".
In the second section the subject is focusing (among other things) on the sanctification of the disciples, see vv.17,19. The address "Holy" indicative of sacredness; separation and purity as well as majesty and veneration is entirely appropriate in this context.
In the third section the subject is a demonstration of glory in an unrighteous world which has "not known" the Father, v.25. A declaration of the significance of the name of the "righteous Father" v.25, is entirely fitting as shown in v.26, "I have declared unto them [the believers with a view to their declaring it further] Thy name …". They ought to portray His righteous character in this unrighteous world.
Several further details emerge from the above. Firstly, Divine titles are used sparingly, reverently and appropriately. There is no vain repetition. Each reference has careful and deep significance.
Secondly, the address used is "Father" not Jehovah. The term "Father" separates Christian and non-Christian whereas the term Jehovah separates Jew and Gentile. In addition the term Jehovah is particularly though not exclusively linked with the Old Testament whereas the term Father is very much a New Testament appellation with deep, homely and warm connotations.
Thirdly, and importantly, the address uses the second person singular throughout: Thy, Thee, Thou. It should be noted that this is the language of the Bible; not of 1611 when the A.V. was translated. This is unambiguously seen when the preface to the A.V. of 1611 is consulted. No less than four times in the first paragraph alone King James is referred to as "Your" not "Thy". This would not have been the case if the normal form of address had been the second person singular. The conclusion is abundantly clear – if we are going to be Biblical in our address in prayer the second person singular will be our mode of address. The departure from this on spurious and unscriptural grounds is but another indication of the casual approach infiltrating every aspect of assembly life leading to the demise of assembly testimony. In my experience, the reason for the demise of assemblies lies at the door of those departing from the truth and introducing unscriptural practices. This is often linked to denominational ties, leading to the refusal of the acceptance of the uniqueness and distinctiveness of assembly testimony.
Fourthly, the general occurrence of the word "name" in the prayer should be noted, vv.6,11,12,26. As we shall see, the significance of this lies in the fact that the word indicates the self-disclosure of the Person in the particular context being addressed. As noted above, for example in v.26, our Lord says, "I have declared unto them Thy name". In the context the name is that of "Righteous Father". In a world that did not know this quality and into which disciples were to be sent this was an altogether necessary disclosure.
THE SON’S LOCATION IDENTIFIED
The Lord Jesus uses language in this prayer that is quite staggering. The movement of location is to be noted.
He is "in the world" physically, v.13. The purpose of His speaking here is clear: it is that his disciples "… might have My joy fulfilled in themselves". It is an amazing fact that He is cognisant of the desire for His disciples to be filled with joy as a result of His prayer even in circumstances where He Himself is about to enter into the deepest sorrow.
He is "no more in the world" v.11. It is difficult for us to understand a statement like this. Some of the language used elsewhere in the prayer is of help in this regard. Note the movement indicated:
He "lifted up His eyes to (eis = into) heaven" v.1
Life now lived; work now "finished" v.4
"Now come I to Thee" v.13 – see also v.11, "I come to Thee".
He is with the Father – "where I am" v.24. The late Mr. Albert Leckie said, "At the end His Spirit has gone where His eyes had reached". The hour of His glorification, v.1, had come. A man on earth but already in heaven and with a consuming desire to have His own with Him: "I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." And the prospect is quite staggering, "that they may behold My glory". This is a glory that is incommunicable but which can be the basis of wonder and therefore of worship!
THE SUBJECT OF GLORY IN THE CHAPTER
The idea of glory appears at least eight times in the chapter, vv.1(twice), 4,5 (twice),10,22,24. There are different aspects emphasised. In vv.1,22,24 it is personal glory in a variety of aspects. In vv.4,10 it is manifested glory while in v.5 it is pre-creation glory. Glory has been defined by Brown (op cit) as "manifested excellence". This is a good indication of what is involved in the passages which follow. It does of course encapsulate all the varieties of excellence that can be anticipated: beauty, sinlessness, purity, loveliness, indeed all of the details associated with the "fruit of the Spirit" as enumerated in Galatians chapter 5.
This personal glory has a variety of aspects.
Prospective Personal Glory
In v.1 the idea is that of the inauguration of the hour of His glorification by the Father. The idea of this "hour" has been mentioned seven times in the Gospel of John, see 2.4; 7.30; 8.20; 12.23; 12.27(twice); 13.1. It seems that the same hour is referred to on each occasion. It involves His death, His resurrection, His ascension and His current session. Each of these is evidence of His "manifested excellence". No one, for example, could die the death He died without outstanding qualifications of sinless perfection and absolute holiness such that the eternal throne of a righteous God could be fully satisfied and the basis laid for eternal redemption to be available to sinners in bondage.
Communicated Personal Glory
In v.22 the personal glory envisaged is that which will be communicated by the Son through His own people. As will be shown, this will take place in a millennial context that "the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me" v.23.
Incommunicable Personal Glory
In v.24 the glory envisaged is such that it can no longer be communicated – it is for beholding! What a day awaits God’s people when they have the honour of simply enjoying the continuing unfolding of Divine glory throughout eternity. If the wonder of a lily cannot be fully explored, "Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" Matt.6.29, and our Lord Jesus was its Creator. What countless wonders await God’s people in the unfolding eras of eternity.
In vv.4,10theaspect of glory which is being addressed is that which has been manifested by the Lord Jesus to His own. When the Lord said "I have glorified Thee on the earth", He is referring to activity already undertaken which manifested that glory. It is a glory of which His disciples are aware. Twice at least there is reference to this in the gospel. In 2.11 we read "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested forth His glory". The result was that "His disciples believed on Him". In this case there was a revelation of His glory in the miracle performed. Of course, it was a little preview of the endless source of joy to be known in millennial conditions when there would be no possibility of a shortage of its supply; the source is unending, "Draw out now". It is still available! The second reference is in 11.4,40. "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby". Again a millennial setting is in view when death will be the exception; life will be the rule and resurrected and living saints will be enjoying each other’s company and the "manifested excellencies" of the Son will be pre-eminently displayed.
In v.5 the glory envisaged is that which the Lord knew prior to His entrance into the world: "… the glory which I had with [para= alongside, near] Thee before the world was". This is the glory that Isaiah saw, "these things said Esaias when he saw His glory, and spake of Him" Jn.12.41. According to Isaiah this glory was evidently manifested holiness as thrice the seraphim asserted the holiness of the One seated on the throne. The subject of glory is thus a major consideration in the prayer and indeed there are still "waters to swim in" when there is later consideration of the subject.
THE SEVERAL SEVENS
Throughout the chapter evidence of the number seven is seen time and again. Perhaps this should not surprise us as the stamp of absolute perfection must be seen in everything connected with the Son. There are at least three groups worth exploring.
The Seven Gifts Given by the Father to the Son
The first gift indicated is that of "power" (exousia, v.2). The word has in it the idea of "the right to act; used of God it is absolute, unrestricted … used of men authority is delegated".2 The power is "over all flesh", that is over every living creature, and in this context over all men. He is supreme in administration and supreme in sovereignty. This gives Him the authority to "give eternal life". The clear implication is that eternal life is a gift given by the Son but not dispensed universally but "… to as many as Thou hast given Him". Hence the initiative is taken by God in the first place and the eternal life thereafter given by the Son. This may well be the reason for the order given in v.3, "… this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent". Note the interesting contrast between "all flesh" and "as many". In the one case unrestricted, in the other only to "as many". What an honour to be among the "as many"!
- 2 Vine, W.E. “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words”. World Bible Publishers, Iowa, 1991.
The second gift is that of the believer, "… as many as Thou hast given Him" v.2. It is not clear when this love gift was given. There are seven references to this gift in vv.2, 6(twice), 9,11,12,24. The details will be considered when the second series of sevens is examined.
The third gift is the "… work which Thou gavest Me to do" v.4. Again this is a sevenfold completed work to be considered in detail later.
The fourth gift is "… all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me" v.7. In His ministry the Lord had indicated clearly to the disciples that His supremacy and sovereignty had been sourced in the Father. In this Gospel there are another two references to the fact that the Father had given Him "all things". In 3.35 the context is that of the unlimited supply of the Spirit: "… God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him" v.34, permitting Him to communicate "… the words of God" 3.34, and to be the source of eternal life on the basis of believing, 3.36. In 13.3 the context is that of the sweep of His mission: "He was come from God, and went to God". It was in this awareness that He implemented the sevenfold movement (beginning with His rising from supper and laying aside His garments) to anticipate His work as an advocate. In the context this is to deal with the involuntary defilement that arose in feet that must necessarily tread the sands of time.
The fifth gift is "the words" v.8. This is the daily communication which the Son received from the Father to which He then communicated to His own. Details are given under the third series of "sevens".
The sixth gift is that of "glory" v.22. This is a gift of glory: the manifested excellencies of the Lord that can be shared with His own; "… I have given them". The purpose is that there might be an evidence of association between "them" and the Father and the Son. This demonstration of unbridled and loving unity has still to be manifested in all its fullness. The coming kingdom will give the opportunity for its display and result in the world knowing the uniqueness and fullness of Divine love, v.23.
The seventh and final gift is again that of "glory" v.24. In this case however it is altogether unique. It is "My glory". To quote Mr. Leckie again "… there is a Man in heaven sharing equally with the Father all the glory of Deity and occupying a position that belongs exclusively to Deity yet still bearing in His body the marks of Calvary that will declare eternally that I am His and He is mine". It is an evidence of love that existed "… before the foundation of the world" v.24.
The Seven References to Believers as the Father’s Love-Gift to the Son
It is a thrilling thought that we as believers in the Lord Jesus have been given to Him as the Father’s love gift. Since we were "… chosen … in Him before the foundation of the world" Eph.1.4, it is likely that the love gift was given then as well. In this context it has been well said that "…God is seen to be moving for His own glory and the eternal satisfaction of His own heart … Election as taught in v.4 has to do with a sovereign God, is connected with the past and is related to persons; predestination as taught in v.5 has to do with the Father’s good pleasure, is connected with the future and is related to a position marked out for persons … Israel knew something of election and sonship, but with a difference: their election was as a nation, they were an elect race: their sonship was as a nation, "Israel My son". The election of this unique day of grace is individual as is also sonship."3 Thus the thought is that "… before the foundation of the world" we were as individuals, known intimately to the heart of God and without any merit of our own, given by Him to His Son as a love gift to share in the blessings of an eternal relationship and to have the opportunity of being associated with the display of His glory. In each case where this love gift is mentioned there is a different association.
- 3 Leckie, A. “Ephesians – What the Bible Teaches”. Ritchie, Kilmarnock, 1983.
The first reference is in v.2. It should be noted that there are three gifts in this verse. The link for the believer here is that of eternal life. This is of course where life really begins for His own. If the love gift is to be related to Divine Persons then Divine life is essential. It should be noted that eternal life is seen as a gift to be received and enjoyed.
The second reference is linked with the manifestation of the Father’s name, v.6. The idea in the word manifest (phaneroo) is to make visible what has been hidden, whether by teaching or deeds. The Lord Jesus did this in His ministry and miracles. He could say "… he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" Jn.14.9. He thus disclosed the meaning of the "name". The Father’s love, joy, peace, gentleness but also antagonism to sin in all its forms were displayed in the lovely life and walk of the Lord Jesus.
The third reference is also in v.6. In this case it is asserted that those who were given have "… kept Thy Word". It is lovely to think of the consideration of the Lord Jesus in relation to His own. He no doubt could have detailed occasions when problems had arisen and deviation had occurred. However, He looks at the generality of their behaviour and in the kindness of overall assessment says they have "… kept Thy Word". The listening disciples must have been thrilled at the assessment and been better fitted to face the problems about to arise in their experience.
The fourth reference indicates that they are the subjects of the Son’s prayer. "… I pray for them" v.9. The reason given indicates a real intimacy "… for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them". This undoubtedly was the only basis of their continuance – and ours as well! It was the reason for His conclusion in v.6, the keeping of the Word. The fact that He does not pray for the world does not mean a disinterest since He came to be the Saviour of the world, but indicates the particular focus of the prayer at this point in time. It is surely a lesson for us as well. Our prayers ought to be focused, particularly in public, rather than seeking to cover everything at once!
The purpose of the fifth reference is to focus on apostolic unity; "… that they may be one as We are" v.11. This can only be possible by being "kept", "… Father, keep through [en = in] Thine own name". The preposition "in" indicates the only sphere in which the unity could be accomplished. By appreciating the significance of what the name implies they would be kept together and the features that marked the Father would then mark them. Full adherence to the revelation of the Father in His Word is the only basis of true unity today as well.
The sixth reference indicates that while the Lord Jesus was in the world He had kept them. "… While I was with them in the world I kept them in Thy name" v.12. However, He was going back to the Father. He was leaving them and commending them into the care of His "Holy Father". Those who are thus kept, "in Thy name", will know also what it is to be kept "… from the evil [one]" v.15. The believer is not exempt from the influence of evil. There is a serious danger of being overwhelmed by the world’s value system. Care must always be exercised to ensure adherence to the value system of Scripture.
The final reference to the believer as the love gift to the Son is in relation to glory, v.24. He wants us to be with Him that we may behold His glory. Thus for the believer it is from grace, v.2, to glory, v.24! What an amazing prospect, what a final step, something we could never have imagined but all made possible by a gift of love!
The Seven Activities which have been Finished by the Son
The statement in v.4 is clear "… I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do". It may have a reference to Calvary but there is no doubt that in the context of the prayer itself the work is finished. The nature of that finished work is indicated in the seven references to "I have" in the subsequent details. These are as follows.
The first is, "I have manifested Thy name" v.5. In this way the Lord revealed the significance of the Person behind the name. He unveiled the details expressive of His attributes including His authority, His majesty, His excellence and power. It was in effect a disclosure of the Father’s heart. The result was that "… they have kept Thy Word". The word "kept" has in it the idea of observing and guarding, even to hold fast. Thus a revelation of the true significance of the "name" led to an adherence to the Word. Surely an important lesson for us.
The second is, "I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me" v.8. The idea in the "words" is that of sayings, utterances, and daily communications from the Father. We might wonder where and when the "words" were given. We’re not left in any doubt "… The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned [‘instructed’, J.N.D.], that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned [‘instructed’ J.N.D.; ‘they that are taught’ R.V.; ‘disciples’ R.V. margin]. The Lord God hath opened Mine ear and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back" Isa.50.4,5. Again He said "… man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt.4.4. Thus we are left in no doubt as to the source of the words. Daily communion with the Father resulted in daily communications which were then "given" to His own. We could well learn the lesson as we sometimes sing "Lord speak to me that I may speak …". The result in the case of the disciples was dramatic "… they have received them", they "… have known surely", "… they have believed" v.8. Thus received, known and believed in order to be of use in the Master’s service. It would be good if ministry had such a dramatic effect today! There is a price to pay!
The subjects which were known and believed are interesting. They knew that "… I came out from Thee", they believed that "… Thou didst send Me". Here encapsulated in two terse statements we have an assertion of, on the one hand the Deity of Christ, and on the other His humanity. One holy Personality: very God of very God, yet at the same time, truly human. He was sent. The subject of sending has a large place in the prayer, vv.3,8,18 (twice), 21,23,25, – seven times in all (another seven for study!). In six of the seven times the reference is to the sending of the Lord Jesus. This is most significant and a common theme in the Gospel by John. The true significance is seen in Rom.10.15 where the apostle Paul clearly states, "… how shall they preach, except they be sent?" This is one of the essentials for effective gospel witness. It may well be asked, "how do our gospel preachers and their message measure up to the Divine standard?"
The third is, "I have kept … those that Thou gavest Me" v.12. It is evident that we are incapable of keeping ourselves. While our Lord was here He kept His own, but on His departure He communicates with the Father, vv.11,15, to do the keeping. In v.11 it is the "Holy Father" since sanctification (the root meaning of the word holy) is the essential mode of being kept in circumstances where the world seeks a hold. The result of our Lord’s keeping was that "… none of them was lost". The fragments were not to be lost in 6.12 and the further assertion of the safety of the disciples is made in 18.9, "… of them whom Thou gavest Me have I lost none". However, The Scripture was fulfilled in the case of the "son of perdition", who alone, of the disciples, knew ruin.
The fourth is, "I have given them Thy Word" v.14. The fact that the term "Word" is in the singular in contrast to v.8 is of deep significance. The idea behind the term here is that of thought compiled in truth. It is Divine truth as a body. The Lord had introduced them to the full panoply of Divine doctrine, much of it indeed in the Upper Room Ministry just concluded. The result was that the world "hated them" because they were not of this world, they had been sanctified, v.17. The result of imbibing the Truth had separated them from a world that hated Christ and now hated them. There is therefore a very important connection between the "Word" and the "words". It is not only necessary to have a grasp of Divine truth in the "Word" but to be willing to have our ear open on a regular basis to hear the "words".
The fifth is, "I have sent them into the world" v.18. There is a most important principle lying on the surface of the prayer at this point. The development is as follows. His own are seen as being:
"out of the world" v.6, as to electing provision
"in the world" v.11, as to physical location
"not of the world" vv.14,16, as to spiritual condition
sent "into the world" v.18, as to evangelical mission.
The above order is altogether important. Those who are involved in evangelistic activity must be manifestly different from the world. We don’t become "like them to win them". It is the very opposite – our distinctiveness is our strength. A casual approach is not in keeping with the message we proclaim. The world’s methods are not ours! We must not compromise with a value system based on worldly thinking. We are not to console by our life but to condemn by our unworldliness.
The sixth is, "I have given them … glory" v.22. This is a glory that is not yet manifested. It anticipates a day in the future when sharing in the coming reign of Christ there will be an unequivocal demonstration of oneness in glory. It will be the antitype of Joseph and Asenath: she never knew the pit or the prison but shared in the manifested glory of the palace. This will be expanded in the next section.
The seventh is, "I have declared unto them Thy name" v.26. In this case the name that they are given to understand is that of "righteous Father". It is done with a twofold purpose:
Firstly, that we might share in Divine affections: "…that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them." Secondly, that we might have an experience of the Divine presence: "… I in them". For these purposes to be known, right conditions are needed and this can be implemented by an appreciation of a "righteous Father".
THE THREEFOLD UNITY EMPHASISED
The word "one" appears six times in the chapter: vv.11,21(twice), 22(twice), 23. These occurrences are linked to a threefold unity or oneness. It is inconceivable that the prayer of God’s Son would not be answered fully. Indeed, the very word used for prayer in the chapter is quite unique. It is found, for example, in v.9, "I pray [eratao] for them". The word used for "pray" here "suggests that the petitioner is on a footing of equality or familiarity with the person whom he requests" (Vine – op cit). This is in contradistinction to the more usual word for prayer (aiteo) which is used of an inferior making a request to a superior (see Trench4 for further elaboration). Indeed, the Lord says in this prayer "Father, I will" v.24, indicating His equality with the Father. The conclusion above therefore that we can be sure that the Lord’s intercession was answered in full must hold. Hence, when the Lord prays "…that they may be one" we can be assured that they were or will be and the context must be understood in this light. The suggestion made by some that because of current evidence of disunity the prayer has not been fully answered is untenable. We proceed on this basis.
- 4 Trench, R.C. “Synonyms of the New Testament”. Baker Book House, Michigan, 1989.
Apostolic Oneness - v.11
The "they" referred to in the verse is undoubtedly the apostolic band. The oneness for which request is asked is a oneness in AIM: "… that they may be one as We". They were to have a common object or desire. This was fulfilled in the experience of the apostles in the early chapters of Acts, see for example 1.14; 2.1,14. It is also seen in the unity of purpose and doctrine in New Testament writings.
Pentecostal Oneness - v.21
The oneness here is a oneness in AFFECTION: "… that they all may be one as, Thou, Father art in Me, and I in Thee." The question arises as to the reference to "they". Who are they? We are left in no doubt as to this. The previous verse makes it clear, "… them also that shall believe on Me through their [the apostles’] word" v.20. Thus the believers in view are the pentecostal believers of early Acts who listened and responded to the apostolic preaching. That they were one in affection in answer to this prayer is abundantly clear from the reference in Acts 2.44. The objective in desiring this pentecostal oneness was that "… the world may believe". That thousands came to faith as a result of the demonstration of this oneness is clear again from Acts 4.4, for example.
Millennial Oneness – vv.22,23
The oneness here is a oneness in ASSOCIATION: "… that they may be one, even as We are one." To whom does the "they" refer to on this occasion? The whole Church is now in view. We have moved away from the apostles and the pentecostal blessings to a day which is yet future when glory can be manifested and there can be a oneness in glory. This is not for the present but must be implemented in the future. In that day the Church will be "… made perfect in [eis = into] one" or "… perfected into one" (J.N.D.). This will be in shared and manifested glory. "When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" Col.3.4; see also 2Thess.1.10. The purpose now is "… that the world may know" v.23, (contrast v.21 "… that the world may believe"). It is too late to believe now – that opportunity has passed! There are two things the world will know:
Firstly, that the Father sent the Son: Secondly, that the Father loved us as He loved the Son.
ASSOCIATIONS IN GLORY
In conclusion to the study it is heart warming to ponder the associations we will have in glory. We are going to be:
Like Him – v.22
Note the link between "Me" and "them": "… the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given them". This is beautifully expanded in 1Jn.3.2, "… we shall be like Him". In the context of 1John, He is righteous, 2.29, He is pure, 3.3, He is sinless, 3.5, and we shall be like Him!
With Him – v.24
"I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am". It has been said that heaven is heaven just to be with Him: "with Me" Lk.23.43); "with Christ" Phil.1.23; "with the Lord" 2Cor.5.8.
Behold Him – v.24
"That they may behold My glory." This verse has the last reference to the believer as the love-gift to Christ. It is surely fitting to link it with the opportunity and honour of beholding His glory. There is no possibility of sharing this glory, only beholding it.
Note the three contrasts. In v.22 it is a glory that He shares, that the world will see and know and is related to the kingdom and appearing. In v.24 the glory is incommunicable, that the world will never see, and is related to the Father’s house, it is His glory alone!
As we examine this intercessory prayer of God’s Son we note that there are a variety of subjects covered. He prays for glorification for Himself; preservation, sanctification (both practically through the "Word" v.17, and powerfully "in truth" v.19, see J.N.D.’s footnote), association and glorification for His own. We are assured that every detail was and will be fully answered and look forward therefore to the glad prospect of sharing in the full display of His glory to a wondering world.